The Search for Atlantis


Our short story of the week is a choose your own adventure story by Max Dunbar.

Max Dunbar lives in West Yorkshire. He began writing very young, but was almost thirty before he wrote anything worth reading. He is a short form raconteur and longlister.

The Search for Atlantis follows a man with the ability to reset his life.


It was always the spring or the autumn when the signal came – something to do with the lengthening of days or nights, and the drawing in and tightening of air that came with the change of seasons. Dr Winterburn wondered if everybody felt this dreamy restlessness at such times, or was it just him? There was a tightness of definition to the dimensions of A&E reception as well, as he walked through it, doing his purposeful doctor’s walk (while thinking of the joke from Green Wing, ‘a sense of contained urgency’) and noticing things he perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise: the aggressive smell of cleaning products, the shit and blood and puke hosed down from the walls, a troupe of teenage girls squeezed onto two plastic chairs, all showing the inflammations of pellagra on their faces and hands, one of them doing something Jimmy Winterburn hadn’t seen since his own school days – playing with a paper fortune. Bite. Lift. Count.

He reached the main doors and walked out into the cool middle evening, never to return. The breaks, sprains, breakdowns, overdoses, sunstrokes in his waiting room would all have to wait a little longer; they would have to call Ms Burnell in for consultant cover, or even Mr Rowbotham, heaven save us and preserve us. Too bad.

When people asked why he had become a doctor, Jimmy would tell them that he wanted to do something useful with his life – and, if he was tired or not thinking straight, he would add: this time.Read more…